Tuesday, November 14, 2017

hmmmm - considering an uncomfortable probability

"Women have a tendency to look more to an authority/leadership for confirmation on decisions than men." By experience in training environments - a discovery made in specifically a force professional environment during training phases by a colleague. Is this statistically accurate? Does it apply in other professions? Don't know. Someday I may research all that but for now, don't need to because I can confirm - as uncomfortable as this may be to acknowledge - that in force-related industries I know this to be personally true.

Is this because it is a traditionally male paradigm? Do women, unconsciously perhaps, notice and wonder:

because there are so few women, and the majority of the leadership are men - maybe as a female - I better check with a guy to see if I'm thinking about XX in the right way. Maybe, the lack of women indicates the guys get this more than women do and so I shouldn't rely as much on my own judgment or intuition here...maybe...

I don't know. I haven't had those thoughts at a conscious level. When I worked in violence-prone environments I didn't look to the men for direction when someone was escalating because - in those environments -

a) I trusted my skill set
b) the roles in the environment had me in more of an "authority" position then most of the men I worked with. In other words, it was my job to make the call, not theirs.

But...personally on the mat - I know there were plenty of times I would question my ability to figure out what I was doing wrong when something wasn't working. I asked more questions than the guys.

The questions themselves aren't a solid metric of this though because as a whole, women are more discovery oriented and because of how our brains are wired, we see more connections between the points and we have a stronger drive to understand the "why".  What the questions were about though, that's where the comment that kicked off this post is something I can relate to (ick, so much don't like the reality there).

For a long time, I didn't trust my ability to figure out a solution on my own. I know of at least one situation where I followed a male training partner over the cliff in a martial-art mistake because we were the same rank and he was certain...and I wasn't.

I don't know how universally true the "Women have a tendency to look more to an authority/leadership for confirmation on decisions than men" reality is. It does seem to show up in force/violence related paradigms. And from a teaching/coaching in self-defense mindset it makes a particularly coaching approach even more relevant:

Good coaching often involves responding to a student's question "how do I fix this?" with "What do YOU think?" or some other form of encouragement that is basically designed to say hey...you can probably figure out a solution on your own. If there IS a gender metric and it does circle more around the force/violence industry and we want women to believe they can be their own bodyguards (to paraphrase a common marketing ploy) - then we need to coach the mindset early...and often.

As instructors we need to support her to look to herself to solve the problem. If we are preparing someone for a martial arts testing - all students need the coaching that will help them pass their test. This is different coaching. This is about performance and about looking "uniform" in how they move. Everyone's foot needs to HERE and everyone needs to move diagonally at a 45 degree angle. Everyone needs to.... because in a Martial Art we are training to the measure of the Art. In Self-Defense? Not so much. She needs to know she has -or can develop - the ability to think on the fly. She needs to trust she is as capable as the guys. Maybe even, that when it comes to high-speed problem solving, she might be naturally better at it because she adrenalizes more slowly.


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